Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 01/10/07


The first weird event of the week is Arisia, one of two major science fiction conventions in the Boston area. If you like science fiction, fantasy, anime, or just costuming or roleplaying, check it out. (The other conventions are Boskone in February and Readercon in July which is really just for booklovers and writers.) Jan 12-14. Hyatt Regency Cambridge.

Pumping it up a notch, how about Dark Chocolate Tasting at MIT? As I mentioned earlier, it’s Independent Activities Period at MIT and a lot of fun one-shot stuff is happening, see The dark chocolate tasting is one of a number of events being run by the “Lab for Chocolate Science”, which I assume is a joke. Jan 16 from 8-10pm.

Another weird event, is the Annual MIT Mystery Hunt. Think of it like a scavenger hunt except way bigger — most teams are 12 people or more, but if you’re just a single you can join a group. Jan 12-15. I did it once and in my opinion, there is such an emphasis on making it hard that it wasn’t really that much fun. But crazy antics certainly ensue, so check it out, maybe as a bystander. 🙂

It’s hard to top that, but the weirdest thing happening is Professional Bull Riders. Yes, a rodeo in New England. Jan 12-14 in Worcester at the DCU Center, 50 Foster Street. Worcester, MA. 617-931-2000. I’ve been to the DCU Center (to see Srah McLachlan) and it’s unclear to me how they’re going to get a bull show in there, but their website insists they really will ride bulls for us. Yee haw! Website is Oh wait, sorry,

Not so weird, the Boston Celtic Music Festival is Jan 12-14, at Club Passim in Cambridge. Club Passim, 47 Palmer Street. Participatory and performance Celtic dance, music at several venues in Cambridge. Irish, Scottish, and Cape Breton music.

Also see the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration of the City of Boston. Jan 14-15. Starts off with a concert at the Opera House featuring Peabo Bryson, who sung the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. Then new Gov’nor Deval Patrick, will give a keynote speech Jan 15th, which is bound to be good! Everyone says he’s an inspirational speaker.

Baratunde Thurston is performing at Comedy Studio, which is in the Hong Kong Restaurant in Harvard Square, Cambridge. 1238 Mass Ave, 3rd Floor, Cambridge, MA. I saw an essay he wrote and he seemed pretty funny so I thought I’d list him.

Finally, January 16th also opens the Environmental Film Festival at MIT, going to Feb 3rd. I don’t generally list film festivals, but it’s the dead of winter, so what else are we going to do? And this isn’t just passive vegetation, there is a dinner before each screening and a discussion afterwards. Stata Center, 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge. See Web site for listings.

Speaking of winter, here are some more museums to visit while waiting for the chill to pass. This week’s theme is oOOOOOOOOld New England.

The American Textile History Museum is all about Lowell’s big past being a textile capital. (Fall River too)., 491 Dutton St, Lowell, MA.

The Hancock Shaker Village is in Pittsfield, which is way out in Western Massachusetts. Route 20 & 41, Pittsfield, MA. (800) 817-1137.

Or visit the Essex Shipbuilding Museum,, 66 Main St, Essex, MA. 978.768.7541. Rt 133. Sat & Sun 10-5. Rt 128N ex 15, School St. Turn left.

Finally finally, it’s inevitable, so you might as well give in and finally see Blue Man Group. It’s a series of skits and they’re funny and worth seeing. Also if you call more than 2 weeks ahead you can get free seats for volunteering to usher., Boston.

Shear Madness is the other one. Every magazine I have ever read on activities and events (which is a lot) lists Blue Man Group and Shear Madness. It’s a murder mystery featuring hairdressers and actually quite good! At the end they let the audience pick who gets to be the murderer. (Which does take the fun out of guessing since presumably it could be anyone.) Boston.

Another fixture of the Boston theatre scene is the Medieval Manor Theatre Restaurant. They do a dinner theatre, medeival-style, which is to say BAD. But if you bring a birthday party or large group you can single out the Birthday Boy or Girl and they’ll do a skit and embarass ’em. Also Boston.

Note, I went to Joey & Maria’s Comedy Wedding and it wasn’t really worth seeing (sorry!). The comedy was disconnected, with too much ad libbing and no real attempt to pace it. The actors give individual attention to particular tables, which is a cute concept, but not as engaging as actually performing in a well-rehearsed well-timed comic concept as a full cast. Also Boston.

OK that ought to hold you. By the way, my company making event listings professionally may have a sale soon. So I may have higher quality stuff and even weirder picks for you in 2-3 months.